Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Fian Roars Again

Laird Colyne Stewart, December AS 38
Ursus Vol 9 No 1 Jan 2004

On November 29th, AS 38, a challenge took place. A challenge that has not been held for up to six years.

A challenge to enter the White Bear Fian.

If you have not heard of the Fian before, it is because of this long period of inacitivty. Here is some history then. In the Ursus #134, the White Bear Fian is described as

...the Baronial fighting Order. Candidates are first examined by their Excellencies to find if they are 'courteous, able at archery, proficient at song, story, chess or dance, and knowledgeable or skilled at an art or science'. If they are found suitable, they may then offer challenge for entry.

Since the Fian is self-governing, the fianna (members) determine who among them will fight the best-two-of-three challenge, and the manner and style of fighting. Unsuccessful challengers may challenge again.

The White Bear Fian is charged to uphold the honor of the barony, and the honor of combat, above any other affiliation. It is modeled after the legendary fianna who guarded Ireland's shore independent of any petty king or clan.

At Feast of the Bear (itself a revived tradition), Streonwald Wulfesbana and myself challenged the Fian in Septentrian court. We were found worthy by the Baron and Baroness Septentria, and by the Fian. The date set for us to fight our challenge was at Septentria’s 25th Anniversary Event.

There were four members of the Fian in attendance that day: Earl Sir David Martin Failsworth, Sir Evander MacLachlin, Baron Master Konrad Matthias Jaegar and Lord Rhys ap Bledri. It was determined that Streonwald would face Sir Evander, while I would face His Excellency Ramshaven, Konrad.

Streonwald went first. He faced Evander first with sword and shield, and was victorious. They then faced off with two weapons, and again Streonwald carried the day to become the first to win a White Bear Fian Challenge in many years.

I followed, and Konrad and I met with sword and shield. I was defeated in the first two bouts, thus loosing the challenge, but as we had arranged, Konrad and I fought out third bout anyway. (He won that bout as well.)

Doffing his helm, Konrad reminded myself (and those watching) that though I had not passed the challenge that day I could challenge again in the future. (Which indeed, I intend to do).

That night at Septentrian court, Streonwald was formally recognized as a Fiana by Their Excellencies Septentria and was presented with fancy pants and a spear head with which to defend the barony. Later in court, Lord Tormod of Kirk Andreas presented himself and made a formal challenge for entry into the order.

Truly it would appear that the Fian is alive and well again.

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